As wives, we have great power. We can build kingdoms or tear them down with our words alone. I’ve been thinking about this influence over the past few weeks, as we celebrated nine years of marriage last month. It has taken me this long to begin to believe, really believe, that he loves me like he’s always said.

I know it doesn’t make sense. Of course he loves you, they say, he’s your husband! But I have filters, you see. Those filters sift through his words (or non-words) to find evidence of contradiction. I usually find what I’m looking for. And it isn’t fair to him. He is a simple man, a loving man. And he is a man. He doesn’t complicate things like I do, and he doesn’t say love things if he doesn’t mean them. What logical man would do that?

Gradually, over the years, I’ve dared to trust him, to believe him, and even riskier, to act like it’s true. Not only that, I’m learning what it means to invite him to love me in the ways I feel loved rather than grumble and pick and complain.

We have great influence. Sometimes I discount it, because it’s easier to believe that what I say or how I say it doesn’t matter. It is actually easier to believe untruths about myself and my influence than it is to believe the opposite. When that low opinion of myself gets in the way, watch out, because havoc will ensue.

I read this morning in Roy H. Williams Monday Morning Memo a reminder of the truth about why God made a wife for the man. She wasn’t just his helpmate or assistant. The literal Hebrew translation in Genesis says that she was made to be his ezer kenegdo, or a strength opposite him, a power facing him, a rescue that looks him in the face. What if we dared to believe that was true? Would it change anything?